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Marcelien DE KONING & Lobke BERKHOUT (NED)

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© Joao Ferrand/ISAF
Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) made history in 2007 when they picked up their third consecutive 470 World Champion title. For this outstanding team from the Netherlands, the nomination period began with the defense of their 470 World title in Rizhao, China back in September 2006. They continued their winning ways by picking up more ISAF Graded event gold medals, beginning with the Rolex Miami OCR in January 2007 and held the # 1 position on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings from May.

As the sailing season moved to Europe, the team were training hard for the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais which they went to as hot favourites to win. Marcelien and Lobke put in a dominant performance throughout the Championship; only once finishing a race lower than second and went into the Medal Race facing only one other team who had a chance of winning the gold medal. Controlling the race and their rivals from the start they claimed their third consecutive World Championship gold medal with a 19 point margin. This remarkable team also works hard to encourage young talent in the Netherlands and promote the sport of sailing.

1 - 470 World Championships 2006, Rizhao, CHN - ISAF Grade W - Sep 2006
1 - Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA - ISAF Grade 1 - Jan 2007
1 - HRH Princess Sofia Trophy, Palma, ESP - ISAF Grade 2 - Apr 2007
11 - Semaine Olympique Française, Hyères, FRA - ISAF Grade 1 - Apr 2007
9 - Breitling Regatta, Medemblik, NED - ISAF Grade 1 - May 2007
1 - ISAF Sailing World Championships, Cascais, POR - ISAF Grade W - Jul 2007 (3rd consecutive title)
6 - Qingdao International Regatta, Qingdao, CHN - ISAF Grade 2 - Aug 2007

ISAF World Sailing Rankings position at the end of the nomination period (29 August 2007) - # 2
ISAF World Sailing Rankings # 1 from 2 May 2007 to 29 August 2007

Name Marcelien DE KONING (helm) Lobke BERKHOUT (crew)
Place of birth Hoorn, The Netherlands Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Date of birth 10 May 1978 11 November 1980
Profession Sailor Sailor
What inspired you to take up sailing? My parents loved sailing, and my older sister started sailing Optimist so I followed my parents were sailors and all their friends had children who started sailing like me. They became my yought friends
What was the first boat you sailed and how old were you? Optimist, 5 years old Optimist, 8 year old on the lakes in Holland
How did you buy your first boat and what was it? My father made it in the garage. It was wood and painted blue. I shared it with my sister. I think it was the fastest boat I ever sailed! My parents invested a lot of money in my starting sailing carriere. The first boat was an Optimist wonn by a girl in a drawing challenge.. she could not sail..
Name your first sailing club WSV Hoorn WSV Hoorn
What was the first event you competed in and when? Club racing in Hoorn Combi C, for beginning sailors on the lakes. When I was 9 (1989)
What was the first event you won and when? The Russian Black Sea nationals. It was the first time so far away from home in 1992. Not a lot of boats and very old Optimists which were very heavy but it was great fun. The European Championschips in Turkey in Optimist 1994.
What are your personal highlights of your career to date? Third at European Championship in the Europe-class in Athens in 1997
3 times World Champion 470 (2007,2006,2005)
But representing the Netherland in the Optimist Worlds in Menorca 1993, also had a great impact in my sailing career.
3 time in a row World Champions!
What are your future sailing goals? Winning an Olympic gold medal A medal at the Olympic Games in 2008.
Who has had the greatest impact on your sailing career and why? My Optimist coach Peter Ter MEULEN; he has taught me the basics and motivated me to compete in regattas and Jacco KOOPS my current coach, he made me a complete sailor Our coach Jacco KOOPS. He always saw our talent and drive. He picked us up and made us the team we are now. He is a really good friends also.
Who is your sailing hero? When I was little I was inspired by "EF language", the girls competing in the Whitbread Around the World Race. I had a poster above my bed. I never looked up to one person but that team looked so cool to me. Robert SCHEIDT and Ben AINSLIE. They are great sailors. It is hard to immagine we are getting Champions like them as well.
What other sports do you enjoy? Cycling, boxing, snowboarding, kiting. Almost all. Sport is a great thing. I love the emotions and drive atlethes have in any kind of sport. Most i like are Gymnastics, Judo, Athletics, Swimming, Cycling
What does being nominated for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards mean to you? Never ever thought I would be in this position. It's an incredible stimulation for me and our team members. Each year the team gets bigger and we get more professional. It's a strange life being an top athlete but I'm loving it! It is a great honour to be nominated for this Awards. As i saw in the last few years many heroes and great sailors passing by as nominees and winners of this award, it is hard to immagine being one of them as well right now. There are so many great sailors in all different kind of boats and classes and now we belong to this select part which are invited to this special accosion. The effort we take to become the best sailors of world is rewarded and respected by many people who selected us. This feels great.
If you were voted as the winner, what would this mean to you? Again it would mean a lot for all of our team members too. We work hard and get it's awesome to get so much recognition by our fans, country and now even the world! A dream which i never even thought of achieving will come true. This is the greates honour and respect you can get in sports. Winning of all legends!
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